This is what the front porch looked like right before I decorated it for fall.

Before the pumpkins.

Before the mums.

Just some plants and some lanterns and some urns and a basket full of green stems with a bow and two large topiaries on either side of the door.

I had big falls plans for the front porch. I wanted to mix faux and real fall decor to make it last until Thanksgiving. So I ordered the white pumpkins and ordered some faux purple mums and went to the garden center and found real purple mums and real white pumpkins and mixed them all together.

Next I decided to change out the topiaries for oversized mums in the monogrammed planters.

I placed the mums next to the planters and went to pull out the topiaries.

And then?

To my horror?

This happened.

At first, I almost missed it.

I was concentrating on lifting out the topiary from the center of the planter when all of a sudden, I heard a random sound.


It grew louder and louder and sounded something like this.

buz. buzz. buzzzzz. BUZZZZZZZZZ.

Right then I SAW THEM. Two hornets buzzing in and around and circling the top of the topiary.

At the sight of those hornets?

Some people might have run.

Some people might have screamed.

Some people might have left those topiaries in place until St. Patrick’s Day showed up again.

I am not some people.

My first thought? “The NERVE of those hornets. Those are my topiaries and you are NOT invited to my front porch.”

I ran into the house and emerged with bug spray and sprayed them and the hornets fell to the ground. “There,” I thought. “That’s the end of it.”


Until four more hornets showed up. And then 10 more hornets after that. And then another 10 more for good measure.



At the sight of a giant hornet’s nest, some people might have run.

Some people might have screamed.

Some people might have left those topiaries in place until Fourth of July.


I am not some people.

I went to the yard and grabbed the water hose with the power sprayer nozzle in one hand and grabbed the bug spray in the other.

Then I stood waaaaaay back from those topiaries and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed.

And sprayed some more.


Until 30 minutes later—with the wildest, craziest dancing and twisting and spinning and spraying performance on the porch that the neighbors are still talking about—

—I stood dripping wet and victorious.


The conflict was over.

The hornet’s nest was decimated.

I went back inside the house and left those dripping topiaries all by themselves overnight just in case any of the hornets sent out carrier pidgeons to their distant relatives.

The next day dawned without a hornet in sight.

The topiaries are gone now–all packed away until spring returns and in their place are the most beautiful mums and white pumpkins and grapevine pumpkins and the smell of pumpkin spice in the air.

Fall is officially here.

I hope those hornets visit another house in the future.

I hope I never repeat the biggest fall decorating mistake I ever made.

I hope that the mums bloom.

I hope the pumpkins stay fresh.

But most of all?

I hope when I decorate that porch for Christmas….

…it’s insect free.:)

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  1. Image for Cynthia Solomon Cynthia Solomon

    Well....that was a harrowing experience! Glad you're okay and didn't get attacked :0! The front porch looks awesome! Well worth the risks it took! Do you mind sharing where you found those grapevine pumpkins? Thank you for sharing your fun fall porch!

      1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

        Luann, I've e-mailed everyone individually---in super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

  2. Image for MerriJo MerriJo

    SO glad you weren’t stung! I think you should be Wasp Woman for Halloween! 😉. You were not only victorious in vanquishing the foe; your Fall porch is gorgeous! Can you please tell me where to find those gorgeous vine pumpkins?

  3. Image for laura laura

    Hi Karianne That’s hilarious! Your porch looks beautiful, I thought of you this weekend for my son’s parents weekend. We got a full tour of the rental house on campus. There were no tension rods for the window treatments. Apparently duct tape keeps out more light! Who needs a trashcan when a Costco size box works just as well? !!

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Laura, you crack me up! We're going to my son's uni at the end of the month and I'm wondering what "decor" will be awaiting us. I suspect it will be closer to what you experienced than it will be to Karianne's daughter's digs!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      In super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

  4. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Good for you and I hope they don't come back! Wasps love our front porch, and no matter what we do (spray, natural remedies, etc), they always come back. Last summer I was stung seven times. . . Mostly I just don't think it's a very friendly way to greet people, so I'm determined to banish them even if I have to call in the pros! Your porch -- your whole house -- looks lovely!

  5. Image for Calypso in the Country Calypso in the Country

    Scary! I'm glad you weren't stung! Years ago, we had a guy come and spray for bees and he told us not to go out near the area afterwards because the bees get really angry. I hope you got rid of all of yours! Beautiful porch by the way! Shelley

  6. Image for Judy Judy

    Just reading your post today set chills down my back. I have large planters by our front door, under a portico similar to yours. A few years ago, we were expecting rain and the plants in the planters needed watering, me thought I'd try to move them from under the portico so they'd catch the rain. I grabbed under a planter top rim and I felt the pain before I ever saw them...dozens of hornets were stinging my hand and bare arm! I had grabbed a hidden hornets nest! I was trying to brush them off so I wouldn't bring them in the house with me. The pain felt like my arm and hand were in hot coals. I ran to the kitchen and put my whole arm under cold running water and quickly took 2 Benadryl, hoping it would give me time to call 911 if needed. Luckily, after I realized I wasn't going into shock, just hyperventilating, I did call my husband to let him know if he found me dead with a gigantic swollen hand and arm, what had happened. I HATE HORNETS!

  7. Image for Teresa Teresa

    You were a woman on a mission! Way to conquer! Your home entrance is ready for fall and oh so pretty! Where do you store all your wonderful decor? When we downsized my husband refused to add a garage because it would just get filled with STUFF. Thankfully we have an overflow home for family that I can stash a few decor items. :)

  8. Image for Martha Thompson Martha Thompson

    Love your front porch fall decor. Glad there weren’t any mishaps with the hornets. Would also love the source for your beautiful grapevine pumpkins. Love love

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      In super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

  9. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Omg scary, I like you would of stayed till they were obliterated!! Lol unless like Judy and got stung!!! I love your vine pumpkins also please share, they are so cute, haven't seen them anywhere, your porch as always looks amazing. Love to you

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      In super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      In super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

  10. Image for Betsy Betsy

    For some reason our porch became a hornet or bee condo year after year to the point where I just gave up. I now hang a wreath on our main door that’s covered by a storm door and I put a few real pumpkins by the porch rocker. I’ve been stung so many times over the years just going out to the front porch I was afraid to go out there. We haven’t had a problem since I did away with my original decor. You ARE one brave girl : )

  11. Image for JC JC

    Decorating can be a dangerous job!😁 Glad you conquered! It reminds me of the year we lived in CA and got a fresh Christmas tree. We brought it into our home and lovingly decorated to our hearts content. As evening was nearing and the heat kicked on in the house, spiders started emerging like they owned the place! Upon screaming, my husband grabbed the entire tree, stand and all, ornaments dangling like and earthquake had just happened, and yanked that spider infested tree outside! My hero saved the day! Your front yard is lovely. Stay safe!

  12. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    We never think about where those little buggers will turn up but that was the perfect place for them to build a hive. My husband and I keep bees and a pump sprayer with soapy water will kill bees. I’m not sure about wasps or hornets. I’m glad you were not injured! The porch looks so inviting!

  13. Image for Sherry Darlington Sherry Darlington

    Love it all....the white pumpkins, the mum's, the lanterns but girl....! Those grapevine pumpkins are all that & a bag of chips! Could you please provide your source?

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Luann, In super sad news--the pumpkins came from HEB (the grocery store) and I can't link them online! I just got them---so if you have an HEB near you--RUN. :) Happy day! KariAnne

  14. Image for Gail Gail

    Bahahahahaha....just thinking about the sight of you on the porch that the neighbors are still talking about! Glad you didn't get stung!

  15. Image for Lisa Cooper Lisa Cooper

    Yes, I understand! I have faux greenery orbs that I use on my covered porch and for the last three years, I have discovered that hornets have invaded and built their nests INSIDE of the orb. It is a dance each year with me and the hornet spray as I try to kill the hornets. The next trick after all the hornets are extinguished, is to break up and remove the nest inside the orb. I don't want their home to be there waiting for them to move in the next year. Unfortunately, they keep coming back!

  16. Image for Kris Kris

    I think the hornets were the ones who made a mistake, not you! Add me to the list of people curious about where to get the grapevine pumpkins.

  17. Image for Tina Tina

    KariAnne, I just got rid of a wasp nest by the front door & undecided about leaving others near patio at back of house ... because they say they won't return & might even deter new nests from being built. You solved the immediate problem but it's still important to eliminate the source & best recommendation I found was for you to ... Place wasp-repelling plants around your home and porch. Instead of planting flowers around the areas in which you enjoy relaxing, consider placing wasp deterring plants to add a natural border of protection. Such plants can include wormwood, marigold, mint, basil, pennyroyal, and geranium.


    Those hornets always seem to find the best places to nest! Glad you were able to get rid of them without getting stung. Your porch and steps are so beautiful! KariAnne, you always do such a fabulous job with all your decor. Have a great week!

    1. Image for Debbie Debbie

      It wouldn’t work at my house (small porch with one step) but Karianne has the perfect porch with lots of steps to handle it. I think it looks incredible.

  19. Image for Zoey Zoey

    I like the individual decorative items. However, there is no focal point. I get an uneasy feeling looking at the porch. I agree with the other person. Sometimes less is more. Fifteen to 20 lanterns is excessive. I would have cut back on so many different items.

  20. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Truth I feel horrible but I was hysterical reading this. I'm envisioning your tiny body whirling around with a hose as the hornets challenged you. How dare they tempt you because you're AMAZING! You showed them whose the boss. You were not defeated and won the hornet attack. The porch looks stunning.

  21. Image for Debbie from SC Debbie from SC

    Oh I have been there with those crazy hornets my friend! They just make their now home in our stuff. And getting rid of them is not a pretty dance to do…like Elaine on Seinfeld, kicking and jumping ever which way! But you won that battle and your porch is so welcoming and so beautiful! Bravo dear friend. Bravo!

  22. Image for Pam Pam

    Your porch looks fantastic!! I would be walking up and down those decorated steps all day long for no other reason than to admire it all!! As for those nasty hornets... this spring try tucking in some eucalyptus & peppermint essential oil soaked cotton balls into your topiaries. That will discourage those hornets from coming back. I love the bees but not those hornets and wasps! BTW, did anyone happen to get a video of your "battle for the porch"? hahah! Your beautiful porch was well worth it!

  23. Image for Jayne Jayne

    Well, the porch looks gorgeous now! I didn't get to decorate my porch this year because I broke my foot but I'm happy to crush on yours! :)

  24. Image for Kimberly Westby Kimberly Westby

    Please, please, please, do not exterminate bees, these pollinators are responsible for us humans to continue to exist, and are becoming critcally low in population. Bees cannot re-sting, are gentle and do not tend to take up house in our garden or porch decor. Hornets, yelow jackets and the like are aggressive and protective of their homes. They are still polinators though. I agree with the comments to use evvironmentally safe products that deter them from taking up residence. Also try 'fake' nests that can be bought or home made from brown paper bags. Please avoid broad spectrum bug killers, as even butterflies are bugs. Of course high stream water is environmentally safe, thoroughly enjoyed the story and the porch decor.

    1. Image for celestial celestial

      She was talking about wasps and yellow jackets, not bees. Wasps and yellow jackets and hornets do some pollinating but they are most scavengers. As someone who is highly allergic, I give full permission to use anything you need to get rid of them and avoid a potential death situation yourself.

  25. Image for celestial celestial

    This is just such an impressive array; I feel happy just looking at it. You have a very large and stately front entry and I think this decorating does it perfect justice. I have to ask, however, did you get all those pumpkins into a cart and then into your car? That is a lot of weight! It is just beautiful and I thank you for sharing it. Our son would make notes of all the wasp nests in the yard and on New Year's Eve would load them with firecrackers and blow them up. The nasties were all hibernating so they didn't feel a thing and it felt like a good and appropriate thing to do mid-winter.

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